The team at WesTrac Bathurst have proven you absolutely can teach an old dog new tricks, following the successful refurbishment, overhaul and rebuilding of a well-used Cat R3000H Underground Loader.
The loader had racked up 30,000 hours of service with its owner at a NSW mine site and might have been approaching the end of its service life until WesTrac stepped in.
The team completely rebuilt the loader, extended its service life to an industry-leading 60,000 hours and gave it a fresh coat of paint in the customer’s choice of colour – in this case, an eye-catching green that gives it the nickname ‘HULK’.
The loader also features promotional branding for the customer’s internal employee assistance program. It has since become a talking point on site, raising awareness for the program.
The first R3000H rebuild
All Cat machines are designed to be completely rebuilt (multiple times) and WesTrac regularly does this for mining customers, but this is the first time an R3000H has undergone the rebuild process at WesTrac, so it’s a significant milestone for the company.
WesTrac Bathurst Branch Manager John Gracey explained that the loader spent eight weeks in the engineering workshop as part of its rebuild, with a team of six mechanics and several support and administrative personnel handling the large project.
Mr Gracey said the customer was delighted with the result and that it was the first of many more underground loader rebuilds to come.
“Prior to this program, we hadn’t done a rebuild of this magnitude. We’re now looking to rebuild around five of this model every year,” he said.
A rebuild and maintenance strategy equals less downtime
While having your car or ute in the garage for a day or two while it gets a full service might be something of an inconvenience, having mining equipment go down for maintenance, or any other reason, incurs significantly large costs – the less downtime, the better, which is where a rebuild and maintenance strategy comes in handy.
When it comes to the Cat R3000H, this model won’t typically go down unexpectedly between zero and 30,000 hours, except for brief planned preventative maintenance events. By keeping this loader maintained and rebuilding it at 30,000 hours, it’s likely the customer will get another solid 30,000 hours out of it. This is opposed to rolling the dice and letting the machine continue to work until it goes down unexpectedly, which means longer downtime and increased costs.
“In the mining industry, a preventative maintenance event for an underground loader occurs roughly every 10,000-12,000 hours and the mine loses production unless they’ve got another machine ready to go – and you don’t want spare machines sitting idle, because they’re expensive,” WesTrac NSW Mining Business Manager Neil Roberts said.
Planned maintenance events undertaken before the rebuild
To minimise the chance of a machine going down unexpectedly, a rebuild and maintenance strategy dictates that a machine undergoes a series of planned maintenance events during its initial life, before it gets rebuilt.
In the case of this R3000H, during its initial 30,000 hour run, it underwent several planned maintenance events that resulted in only 10 days of scheduled downtime. WesTrac was able to minimise downtime because the customer followed the strategy and allowed the machine to be serviced at the recommended hour intervals.
During the planned maintenance, the loader had some components changed out, upgraded and refurbished ahead of the eight-week rebuild. This ‘pre-work’ ensured the rebuild was a much smoother and faster process.
The result was significantly less downtime for the customer, and after thousands of hours of faithful service they have an R3000H underground loader that has effectively been returned to factory-new condition by the WesTrac team as part of the
Cat Certified Rebuild (CCR) program.
A Cat Certified underground loader rebuild comes complete with a full warranty, new serial number and the very latest parts and software upgrades. Its then ready to go for another 30,000 hours, enabling the customer to do more with their fleet of Cat mining equipment.